Ministry of Primary industries (MPI ) has consulted with Guardians of the Sounds from mid-2018 and this is ongoing. The initial process started when we raised concerns about the increase in quota for several species and increased fishing pressure on FM7 area which includes the Marlborough Sounds.
Our concerns around Geoduck harvesting methods and Quota increase, Sea cucumber harvesting methods and quota increase and Sea urchin harvesting methods, have not been listened to.
Geoduck harvesting methods involving liquifying and area of the seafloor to extract the animals. Sea urchins can legally be bottom dredged, Sea cucumbers are currently strip harvested leaving no breeding animals. All of these methods are detrimental and some incredibly destructive to our Benthic (bottom community ) which is very delicate in the Marlborough Sounds. Good fishermen in the sounds manage their fishery and ensure its survival, with a Quota increase Greed is involved and profit attracts companies who are not interested in a sustainable future only short term gains. This is not acceptable to Guardians for the Sounds as we are Kaitiakatanga. The Marlborough Sounds is a poor shadow of its former self due to greed and quick decisions being made by industry-focused policymakers. Democracy and New Zeland Law dictates we are to be involved in the decision process, this is being disregarded.
The MPI science behind the Quota Increases does not stack up and is funded by industry which dictates the conclusions. We have our own science team who are well respected and local based yet not consulted. The lack of public consultation both with important stakeholders like MDC, IWI and public groups shows for very poor process and strong lobbying from the fishing industry with little regard for the delicate nature of the Marlborough Sounds.
MPI disregard for the healthy biomass of the species involved and the surrounding ecosystem which these animals play an important role in has focused us on pushing for a new set of procedures to be put in place for the Marlborough Sounds. This area is special and very different from the rest of Fishing Management Area 7. This area requires a cautious approach and robust science and full consultation before any increases in Quota so we understand the effects on the Marlborough Sounds ecosystem before including it in FM7 changes.
We will be requesting that the Marlborough Sounds have their own policy and set of procedures which are followed by MPI which ensure that the delicate nature of this ecosystem is taken into account before decisions are made which will affect our Sustainable Future. The decision-making process currently in place for FM7 with MPI at this stage is severely flawed and will not give a sustainable future for the Marlborough Sounds.
For support on this important issue for us all please join guardians fo the sounds and help to push for a solution for a sustainable future. If you have details regarding mismanagement of our fisheries, please contact us.